The hashtag #VictimBlaming is on Twitter a lot. People fighting against the idea that women should be taught how not to be raped, instead of teaching men not to rape. People arguing that blaming a woman for being raped because of what she wore or what she says is disgusting, because the person to blame is the rapist.
The thing is, as well as being offensive, rape victim blaming is completely illogical.
1) WHAT WAS SHE WEARING?
a) This is often one of the first things asked when a woman is raped. What was she wearing? A short skirt, she was asking for it. A bra top, asking for it. High heels, asking for it.
A burkha? Saudi women get raped. A school uniform? Children get raped. Pyjamas? Wives get raped in their own homes by their own husbands.
When Jyoti Singh Pandey was gang raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012 what was she wearing? A sari?
Women have been raped in the home and out since the dawn of humanity. Short skirts have been in fashion since the sixties. Short skirts are fashionable in some countries, but that doesn’t mean rape only happens in those countries.
b) For men this is an incredibly offensive question as well.
I’m around my boyfriend naked, in lingerie, in mini skirts, in bikinis… guess what, he’s managed not to rape me! Men are not so controlled by their lust driven penises that the flash of an ankle turns them into raping beasts who cannot be held accountable for their actions. Men are not so out of control of their own bodies that rape and sexual abuse are their only ways of coping with finding a woman’s body attractive.
2) WHAT’S HER SEXUAL HISTORY?
Somehow it is assumed by so many people that if a woman has been promiscuous in her past that she either invited the rape or it wasn’t rape at all.
a) Invited the rape… because men see a woman who’s confident in her sexuality, or not shy about having slept with lots of partners, and therefore take this as an invitation to add one more to the notch on her bedposts… whether she invited them to or not. What is this?! This is insane! Sleeping with someone else doesn’t mean you’re obliged to sleep with other people. Your sexual history does not make your body public property. How could this even be a thing?
b) Not rape at all… because if you have lots of sex you obviously enjoy sex and if you enjoy sex you can’t be raped. The problem is I KNOW people actually think this way and yet it is so ridiculous I struggle to address it. But I will try.
I enjoy pizza. I really do. I love pizza. I’ve eaten lots of pizza. I’ve eaten pizza in public and I’ve eaten pizza at home. I’ve eaten pizza in solitude and in big groups. I’ve eaten pizza with men and women. Quite honestly, I’m a pizza fan.
This does NOT mean you can force feed me a pizza. This does not mean if I don’t want a pizza right now I have to eat it because I’ve eaten pizza before. This does not mean that if I say no thank you to a pizza I should be held down and made to eat it because nobody who likes pizza as much as I do should be taken seriously if they say they don’t want some pizza right now. It doesn’t mean that if I’ve eaten pizza with you before that you can now assume I always want to eat pizza with you even if I say I don’t.
3) WAS SHE WALKING ALONE?
a) When I go for a night out, if I walk home alone I’m told it’s a risk. I’m told it’s dangerous and I should get a taxi instead because walking alone at night is stupid. If The Boy walks home after a night out he walks home and nobody says a word.
Walking alone at night is not an invitation to be raped. Walking alone in the day is not an invitation to be raped. Walking anywhere at any time is not an invitation to be raped. Why should I have to spend money on a taxi whilst my partner can walk without concern, and why should that some how be my fault?
b) Most rapes happen at home. They’re family members, partners or friends. They’re AFTER you’ve safely made it home in your taxi and are in the place you feel most safe with the poeple you trust most in the world. They’re not strangers who’ve stalked you through the night to drag you into an alley. They’re YOUR people. Your people who you trust. Your people who you trust in your place of sanctuary.
4) HAD SHE BEEN FLIRTING?
Flirting is not an invitation to sex. Flirting is not an invitation to anything except reciprocal flirtation. Dancing with someone is not an invitation to anything beyond dancing. Kissing is not an invitation to anything beyond kissing. Her flirty behaviour does not mean he had no choice but to rape her. He had a choice, he chose rape. She did not have a choice because if she did you can be damn sure she wouldn’t be a rape victim right now.
By suggesting a woman is to blame because of her social interactions is suggesting women should not be able to socially interact with others in the same way men can. That women should be muted, controlled, and kept in boxes for their own safety because if they smile at a man or dance with a man they’re putting themselves in the firing line for abuse.
The day of The Boy’s and my first date we went out dancing. He didn’t rape me. We kissed. He didn’t rape me. We flirted. He didn’t rape me. We were drinking. He didn’t rape me. I was wearing a short skirt. He didn’t rape me. We walked alone in the dark. He didn’t rape me. Those things are NOT a clear indication that a woman should be raped because she dared do things a man can do in safety.
The Boy is not some special bizarre case, he’s just a man. I am not some unique creature who’s managed to tame the beast, it is not MY responsibility to stop people raping me by controlling my behaviour and theirs.
IT IS NOT MY FAULT. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
The fault and blame do not lie with the person who is raped. The fault and blame lie with the rapist.
Victim blaming is illogical. It is a pathetic way of shifting blame from men who rape to women who dare to be raped. It’s suggesting men should not be held accountable for their actions, women should be held accountable for them.
IT IS THEIR FAULT, NOT OURS.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!